Honouring emotions and listening to your gut were the themes that ran through this month’s bookclub. The power of exploring big emotions through fictional characters is beneficial at any age. Whether it’s holding your hand over your heart and listening, lying in a field watching crows or drinking coffee and connecting with friends, as our adult characters did, taking a moment to connect with your emotions is a healthy practice. We met characters this month that disappointed others by listening to their own needs and characters that let their heart guide them to joy. No doubt, big feelings are a reality at every age. Books are a great resource for learning to channel positive energy and listen to your anxiety or tummy knots. The books we read this month for VM Book Club led to conversations about intuition and trusting your feelings – valuable skills for kids and grown-ups alike!
What books speak to you or your child’s big feelings? Share your book recommendations and comment on our reviews using #VMBookCub
Our November picks!
Josie’s Busy Calendar
Written by: Jenn Wint
Illustrated by: Allison Arndt
Publisher: East 26th Publishing
Recommended audience: 4+
This book I am closely connected to, I’m the author! Josie’s Busy Calendar explores a young girl’s anxiety as she returns to school and social activities in a post-pandemic world. After months stuck at home to play on her own, while her parents worked, Josie is excited to finally go back to school. Bursting with excitement, she fills her calendar with play dates and activities, thrilled to be back with her friends. But, after diving back into the action, she finds her tummy in knots and starts to feel overwhelmed. Josie listens to her feelings and decides to put her own name on her calendar, making time for herself. Through fun illustrations and quirky characters, the book demonstrates the value of naming, listening to and honouring your emotions.
What if, in order to balance her friends and herself on her calendar, she counted herself as a friend? Imagine that: being a friend to herself!
Find it: on Amazon or ask your local bookstore
Your Heart Compass
Written by: Megan Lammam
Illustrations by: Emily Rose
Recommended audience: 4+
Publisher: Joy Bird Books
Positively channeling complex emotions is one of the most valuable tools a person can have, and this book lays that skill out simply. Especially for my kindergartener, this story about finding a gentle way to move through storms of big feelings was perfect. Taking the familiar form of a compass with emotions as the directions, two children work through both their own sibling frustrations and other conflict. Calming illustrations offer the opportunity to personalize what joy, kindness, courage and calm mean to each child and I loved the way the siblings worked together to discover where their heart compass leads. The author offers mindful conversation prompts at the end of the book which I loved exploring with my kids. They are often the best teachers when it comes to defining joy and calm.
“You can’t see your heart compass,” Mom said smiling. “But you can feel it. It moves to the rhythm of your heart. The more you pay attention to those feelings, the stronger your heart compass gets.”
Can’t Take it Back
Written by: Kelly Duran
Recommended audience: Grown-Ups
Publisher: Audible Canada
Fiction is as good as holiday. This fictional audiobook explores the intertwined stories of four women. The narrative unpacks the complexity of each character and their relationships with partners, children and friends. As expected, nothing below the surface is as it appears and there are scandals and secrets unfolding after kindergarten drop off. This was my first audiobook and my first fiction novel in a long time. I was easily drawn in to the stories and adventures of the characters and then attached to my headphones as I wondered where their decisions would lead them. It’s emotional, racy and highlights the value of true friends, both new and old. An easy and enjoyable listen whether you’re on holidays, in the car or folding laundry – proving that engaging fiction really does have the power to take you somewhere else.
Chapter 9 – “The Girls Trip”
Find it: on Audible
Jenn Wint is a writer, communications strategist and a public relations specialist. She is passionate about storytelling and community. Jenn lives in East Vancouver with her husband, 3yo son and 1yo daughter. You’ll find them hanging around Vancouver’s playgrounds, water parks, coffee shops and anywhere that bakes fresh cookies in-house!